Step 1: Does the situation call for an immediate response?

As we assess any given situation, we must first discern whether or not an immediate response is required.

For example: moments before worship begins, you are alerted about a member who is engaging in your congregation’s closed Facebook group sharing articles, videos, and their own strong opinions about the dangers of including and welcoming trans folks into the congregation. Their posts are seen as offensive, trans-phobic, harmful, and antithetical to our UU beliefs.

You will undoubtedly need to address the situation sooner rather than later, but chances are it can wait until the conclusion of the worship service.

If the situation was different, and the person was distributing anti-trans leaflets to congregants during the offertory, that would call for an immediate response.

When a disruptive situation occurs where an immediate response is required, this will typically be undertaken by the Minister(s), if available, and/or the leader of the group involved. During worship that might be a trained greeter or usher. Their response may include asking the offending person persons to leave or suspending the meeting or activity until such a time as it can safely be resumed. If physical assault takes place or further assistance is required, the police may be called. (See the De-escalation section below for help discerning when to call the police.) Anytime any of these actions are undertaken without the Minister being involved, the Minister and/or President must be notified at the earliest opportunity.